Stepping Stones of the Giant
It is said that Carnewas was once ruled by a giant. Named Bedruthan, the giant towered above all else, fearless and strong. He roamed the land and called the craggy cliffs and rugged landscape home. Mighty as he was he commanded the land, but one day disappeared, leaving all but one trace. What is it you ask? Well, he left us his steps.
Located between Padstow and Newquay, Bedruthan Steps rise dramatically from the Atlantic swell and stand in proud formation. Truth be told, the steps are more likely to be down to geological activity post-Ice Age than giants, but it’s a fun yarn to spin and is one of the many to spring from Cornwall’s north coast.
Running parallel to the beach, the Bedruthan Steps consist of five slate stacks. Soaring from the waves, they each have their own character and are truly impressive. Starting from north to south, they are known as Queen Bess, Samaritan Island, Redcove Island, Pendarves Island and Carnewas Island. Samaritan Island is so named after a ship (the Good Samaritan) happed across it in ferocious seas in October 1846, sending nine men to their watery graves.
As rich in history and as beautiful as they are, the Bedruthan Steps are unsurprisingly a very popular attraction. They are a short walk away from a well-maintained National Trust car park and café. Although the walk along the clifftops is pleasant, the descent down to the beach itself can be a bit tricky and slippery. There is a stretch of beach exposed at low-tide, but this all but disappears at high-tide, so to avoid any difficulties it is probably best to stay high and enjoy the cliffs’ vantage and magnificent views.
If you are looking to enjoy a day on the North Cornish coast, a trip to Bedruthan Steps should definitely be considered. The landscape alone is breath-taking in its coarse, rocky glory. Peppered with castles, World War lookouts, smugglers coves and old mines, the area is steeped in a rich and varied history.
Whether you believe in giants or not, it is hard not to let your imagination run wild as you take it all in. As you witness the majesty of the landscape with the fingers of the wind pushing through your hair, you think maybe, just maybe.